Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Expert's Take on Trump and his Followers

I know someone named Jim Savage.  Jim has run programs for addicts and others in recovery for many years, and he has taken the time to write down what he sees going on with Trump and his people.  I guess we all have wondered how presumably sane people can get on board this hateful train, but for the rest of us it is just the speculation of amateurs.

I just want to say that this is the first time in the over 4300 posts here at Green Eagle that I have posted something written by someone else, but when we have a chance to hear from someone who knows what the rest of us are just guessing about, I think it is certainly likely to be more valuable than one more rant from Green Eagle.

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Election 2016: The Elephant In The Room
Jim Savage, Dallas Texas
October 31, 2016

I’m becoming painfully aware of the fact that every time I turn on the radio or TV and hear Donald Trump’s voice I am in a sense—I know my friends on the right are going to have trouble with this one—being abused.

Therapist friends of mine who understand family systems theory know that any time there’s a dysfunctional behavior in a system, everyone in the system is impacted. This extends to the “secrets” no one acknowledges: Dad might be a drunk or abusive, but no one talks about it, and the behavior is allowed to continue. It becomes the proverbial “elephant in the living room”, and everyone is negatively impacted. Part of the harm comes from being in the position of having to covertly support the behavior because of the underlying dynamics at play in the system. A more extreme example of this is summed up in the principle of “a witness to abuse is a victim of abuse.”

As a result of our democratic process, Donald Trump has managed to hijack the American public. We have become a “system” on one of the largest scales possible. The “secret in the system” is that Donald Trump spews anger and hate every time he speaks, which is reflective of the type of person he is. His support has resulted from tearing a scab off the underbelly of a particular faction of society that shares these characteristics and giving voice to it. Sorry to say it, but we’re talking about racism, bigotry and misogyny. These are verifiable characteristics that Donald Trump currently displays.

Hillary Clinton, as far as I know, has been investigated, but never convicted of any wrongdoing. Regardless of past history, I have not seen Hillary Clinton do anything illegal or even shady during the time she has been running for president. If we disregard Trump’s past history and look only at his actions during this election it can’t be denied that he has demonstrated the following:

Degrading attitude towards women:
·         “She wouldn’t be my first choice” with regard to whether he would have forced himself on someone sexually;
·         tweeting about Miss Universe becoming fat which was “a disaster”,
·         the comment about Carly Fiorina’s face,
·         “Like she hasn’t been grabbed before” in reference to the porn star accuser;

Religious degradation:
·         Implying the Khan mother was perhaps not allowed to speak because of her religion.

Racial bigotry:
·         “Blacks aren’t educated, they live in hell, they’re killed if they just go out in the street. They’ve got nothing to lose.”
·         Claiming the Indiana born judge couldn’t do his job impartially because he was of Mexican heritage (first referring to him as a Mexican)

His attempts to reach out to African-Americans and the evangelicals have been recognized by most as pathetic and insulting examples of the fact that he in no way understands or really cares about these issues.

The mere fact that we have to explain what’s wrong with these attitudes and actions is an example of being unwillingly drawn into, and becoming part of the dysfunctional system.

When someone brings up the fact that dad’s behavior is dysfunctional (alcoholic, abusive, for example) and is shot down by other family members, it makes the one who is willing to speak up feel crazy for trying to bring something to light that is readily apparent.  When I hear Trump growl statements like “We’re going to round them all up and get them the hell out of here”, I feel crazy when I think about how many are not calling this for what it is, rather are fueled by the underlying attitude in his statement. For those who don’t get it:
·         Of course we should deport criminals that don’t have a right to be here in the first place.
·         Of course we need to figure out how to make sure ISIS members don’t get in to our country.

But it’s in how you say this. And the way he says it belies an attitude that goes beyond a reasonable way of addressing these issues. The reality is that the underlying message is one of hate and bullying. And there is a certain demographic in our country that eats this up.

With regard to Trump supporters, I believe there are three categories. The first is the demographic that hold the same attitudes of bigotry, racism, anger and hate. They will always be there and Trump can profit from them through his Trump TV or Facebook Live or whatever he ends up doing. This is not a majority of the American public, therefore he will more than likely continue to simply be a gnat on the ass of the more reasonable society.

Another faction supports him solely as a result of their hate for Hillary Clinton. I believe that you, perhaps through a similar dysfunctional pattern of denial, have been drawn in to a dynamic of compromising your values because of the “binary choice” for this election. I believe many are overlooking traditional values you hold because of the unfortunate position you have found yourself in. Would you really tolerate his attitudes and behaviors with your children? Would you pretend an insincere apology from your child is sufficient and move on, ignoring the glaring fact that he or she did not really learn anything from the opportunity for a lesson? It’s mind-boggling that this has to even be discussed. But this is simply another example of the dysfunctional system we find ourselves in. I think many of you would not support Trump if you had another choice.

A third faction that supports him are those that are in reality doing it for their own gain. These would be the politicians (and others in some position of power) who are disgracing themselves by defending and justifying what are obvious unacceptable attributes for a presidential candidate. I can only surmise that these folks are compromising their values for the sake of their political future—which ultimately translates to personal and/or financial gain.

Mike Pence is at the top of this list. He waves his Christian values like a blazing cross. When asked how he can condone Trump’s statements, behaviors, etc., he responds by saying, “he apologized.” And it is left at that. Here’s another example of the insanity in the dysfunctional system. Everyone knows his “apology” was insincere, which in reality only sheds more light on how dysfunctional the apologizer is. The inherent dynamic of “we will just move on” is a prime example of how the dysfunctional system works.

Perhaps an interesting parallel can be drawn between politicians who overlook their personal values in lieu of supporting Trump and the very thing people vilify Hillary Clinton for. The overall allegation with her would fall under the category of “corruption.” Corruption would be defined as engaging in behavior that ranges from dishonesty or breaking rules to criminal acts for the specific purpose of personal gain. This exists on a spectrum; on one end of the spectrum we have to ask ourselves “do I ever consider my own personal gain when making certain decisions?” I’d be lying if I said that I never consider how a decision might affect me positively when I should be coming from a place of total impartiality. I admit it. I happen to work a program that forces me to keep that type of attitude or behavior in check. If this behavior falls to the extreme end of the spectrum and involves illegal behavior, of course the perpetrator should be prosecuted and held accountable—Hillary Clinton included.

My hunch is that all sorts of in between behavior occurs in politics as well as any other business. Hillary detractors have latched on to the Wikileak item where she said she maintains a personal profile and a public profile. That can easily be made to sound nefarious, but the reality is—who doesn’t do this? Do you think Mike Pence would want the public to hear the discussion he had when making the decision to publicly declare Trump’s apology as sincere? Of course there’s a ton of behind-the-scenes stuff in any politician’s email or private meetings and conversations that the general public would tear apart to serve their side’s agenda.

That said, is it not fair to say that politicians compromising their own values by not calling Trump out for what he really is constitutes another form of dishonest behavior for personal gain? In other words: corruption. Granted, it’s way down at the “mild” end of the spectrum, but it is, nevertheless, dishonest behavior for the purpose of personal gain. And they’re all “guilty” of it.

To put this in perspective, I would refer to differences I saw between the Democratic and Republican conventions. If an alien came down from another planet and watched these events:

One was negative, one was positive.
One was divisive, one was unifying.
One was angry, one was happy.
One was hateful, one was loving.

One painted America as a third world country where it’s unsafe to go outside, but we’re going to get rid of everyone who doesn’t belong

One brought persons with disabilities on stage to point out how we work together to help others and make sure everyone gets a fair chance.  

As I write this, I have the TV on in front of me. Trump just came on, and once again I am immediately reminded of the fact that he is non-stop hate and fear mongering, and his invasion into my living room exposes me to this. It’s unhealthy, and the feeling that resonates from my inner core is, “this is wrong. “ It’s wrong that the news folks have to dignify this dysfunction by covering it. So many feel crazy; they know how wrong this is, but because of the nature of the hijacking, we are powerless to do anything about it.

Hillary may be corrupt; if she has broken laws, sure, “lock her up.” (And for those who don’t get it: That was a cynical, sarcastic jab at the fact that expressing it that way is a prime example of the underlying attitude of misogyny and bullying. There is an appropriate way to express concern that she may have broken the law and should be investigated.) On the other hand, if we shouldn’t vote for anyone who has ever engaged in dishonest behavior for personal gain (corruption), who are you going to vote for?

Trump continues to display character unacceptable for a presidential candidate. His attitude towards women is just one aspect of what’s wrong with him, yet it’s not hyperbole to say that the dignity of women and young girls is literally on this ballot. That alone is enough to call this out. I believe many of you want to overlook this, but deep inside you know this is correct.

Trump is a narcissistic, misogynistic, angry, bigot only interested in personal gain. The irony of this all is that he rides on the mantle of being an extraordinary business leader.  A good leader doesn’t have all the problems his campaign has suffered. A good leader doesn’t have Billy Bush videos surfacing. A good leader doesn’t continually sabotage his campaign directors’ efforts to run an effective campaign by keeping negative issues alive because he can’t control his mouth and his twitter feed.
And finally, a good leader understands the most important principal in business from an organizational perspective: Shit rolls downhill. If you don’t believe me, see: Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones era.

Heaven help us were he to actually be elected.

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Well, I hope you found that interesting.  It sure beats what Green Eagle has to say about Trump.

1 comment:

Infidel753 said...

Very insightful, especially the part about covertly supporting the behavior. I think a lot of people are internally normalizing Trump and making excuses for his behavior because it's too frightening to acknowledge how outrageous and dangerous the situation actually is. And on right-wing sites at least, those who bring up how bizarre Trump is are indeed "shot down by other family members" and start questioning their own judgment. I've seen it happen with several people.